Friday, June 24, 2011

Kayla: The Unauthorized Version

If Jack Bauer could be pregnant and deliver a baby (and lets face it: if his country needed it, he could), it would pretty closely resemble how Aimee delivered Kayla (read the entry below for details).

Jack Bauer Aimee after nearly ten months of torture

Aimee gave the story of Kayla's birth, so I thought I'd share the story of her conception. Kayla's mortal journey began roughly after this happened:

Pictured: People notified of a wife left bored at home in Lynnwood, WA

But enough inappropriate inside jokes. When the midwife arrived, a half hour after Aimee did her job for her, she mentioned that this was a feather in my cap. But to be clear, I did nothing. I answered/made phone calls, got some towels and sheets, and later mopped, making me the secretary-janitor of this birth. Aimee refused my offer to call EMTs, like Allen Iverson waving off a would-be screener so he could demolish his competition solo. Many of you have not actually seen what it looks like when the water breaks, but I'll describe it in one term: Sci-Fi.

When I called the midwife to tell her she needed to redirect to our place, she gave me all these instructions to relay to Aimee, but I didn't bother. Did Ryan Chapelle or Bill Buchanan ever really need to tell Jack Bauer what to do? Heeeeeeeeeeeelllll naw. After we got Aimee laid down, I asked her if she wanted me to take some crime scene photos (she declined). That may seem crazy for me to ask, but there was one picture from Jason's home birth that I was surprised she published.

She curled her hair before the birth

Needless to say, Aimee is awesome and has given me three awesome kids. And now a photo gallery.



Already posing

Another reason to have kids: they can babysit each other

See above

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Surprise, surprise! The Ducky Story

The long story of Ducky's birthday:

We had made plans with the midwives to meet Monday (today) in the morning, at the birth center, to rupture my membranes.  Sunday night, the midwife called to see if we could move the time up a little because she had another patient who was possibly in early labor and wanted to make sure she could attend both of us.  With the plan in place and a feeling of peace, I cleaned up the house while Steve finished his last assignment of the quarter.  I went to bed, but was having a hard time settling down, despite being very tired.  Steve came to bed later too, but tossed and turned as well.  A little after 2am, I decided to get up and go to the bathroom.  Before I got up, I had a painful but not unmanageable contraction, which was nothing new.  After I used the bathroom, I had another contraction which was close but not super weird.  I went out to the family room and kneeled on the floor, draping myself over the ottoman.  It was really comfortable and let me stretch my belly out.  I wasn't feeling very tired, but figured I should go back to bed anyway, since I would need my strength later.  As I was walking back, Steve came out and said that even though he'd taken a Unisom an hour before, he couldn't sleep either!  It was about 2:15am.  We both stayed up for a few minutes, just chatting.  

I kept feeling the need to go to the bathroom, and every time I would go, I'd have another couple contractions.  Steve was watching this and decided he should shower.  I couldn't argue with him, but I still wasn't completely convinced I was in labor.  But all the contractions were hurting, so I started timing them.  To my surprise, they were about 3 minutes apart.  Oh.  That changes things.  I wasn't feeling like I needed to go anywhere yet, but my brother was coming down from Bellingham, so he was my first call. I called him just before 3am and he hadn't even gotten to sleep yet!  I told him I was in labor and to start driving down (he really wanted to be there for the birth).  After that I called my mom & step-dad.  My step-dad answered, so I told him I was in labor and if Mom wanted to take a shower, she should do that now, but I didn't need her to come over right that second.  I had to hang up because another contraction was starting.  I realized that I needed to call the midwives too, so I paged them, leaving a voicemail, telling them what I was dealing with.  Steve came out of the bathroom and started gathering up what needed to go with us.  While I was in the middle of a contraction, my mom called back and Steve talked to her.  By this point, I realized things were intense and I needed her to get over now.  He relayed that and she said she'd be leaving soon.  While he was talking to her, the midwife called back and I was able to talk to her by then.  It was about 3:05am and she said the soonest she could be at the birth center was 3:45am, but she was rushing as fast as she could.  I figured that would be fine, since my mom was still on her way over to come be with the kids.  

I kept contracting close and man, they hurt so bad!  There wasn't a ton I could do to make them feel better and every few contractions, I'd have one where I wanted to push a little bit.  It wasn't a full blown need-to-push feeling, just letting me know it wouldn't be very long.  Steve started taking our bags down to the car, so we could leave as soon as Mom got there.  I still wasn't that stressed about leaving, because I would rather be at home than in the car or worse, waiting outside the birth center for the midwives to get there.  I kept going to the toilet, needing to use it a lot.  It sucked because the contractions hurt so bad when I was there, but I needed to be there.  I had moments where the pain was so bad I wanted to cry and scream, but also had moments when it wasn't bad and I was handling it.  Steve kept reminding me "You're in control.  You know what you're doing.  You're okay."  When I could start the contraction repeating that mantra, it helped me handle the pain a lot better.  During this time, I realized I had told Mom to come over to be with the kids, but hadn't thought about her wanting to see the birth itself!  Oh no!  Luckily, she thought of that and called again, telling Steve that my step-dad was coming as well, in a separate car so he could stay with the kids and she could go with us.  

I had stripped down and was going to put on a dress before heading out the door, but felt the familiar transition-diarrhea feeling (sorry, TMI).  I went to the toilet and got that need taken care of and as I was finishing up, a new contraction hit.  This one was different.  This one just took over and the only thing I could do was push for all I was worth.  I just bore down and PUSHED.  There may or may not have been a few swear words mentioned here.  It was at that moment I just knew we weren't going anywhere and the baby was coming NOW.  I just kept pushing like crazy, taking a couple quick breaths as needed.  I yelled to Steve that I was pushing and just roared again.  That freaked him out a little bit, because it came out of nowhere.  He asked me, a bit panicked "Should I call the EMTs?!"  "NO!!  I'll just catch her  myself!"  At that moment, my water broke.  I felt a little pop, a small bit of fluid and then SPLASH a huge gush all over the place.  I instinctively reached down and her head was halfway out.  The rest of her just slid right out and I caught my own baby, while standing over the toilet.  

Holy crap.  I just caught my own baby, with only my husband there.  Dude.

Steve had both phones in his hand, so I quickly asked him what time it was.  3:24am.  Then he right away called the midwives to tell them to divert to our house, we weren't going anywhere.  Mel didn't seem to quite believe him at first that the crying was Kayla and not the other kids.  But he convinced her and she gave him a bunch of instructions.  Turned out he didn't even bother relaying most of them, because I was already doing them.  I asked him for a towel to keep her warm, keeping her skin to skin on my chest.  I had pulled her cord from around the back of her neck (just looped behind her, not actually around her neck) so it was more comfortable for both of us.  She had started crying immediately, so I knew she was doing well.  We sat there for a couple minutes and were still there when my mom walked in.  She was not expecting to see me sitting there, with a baby in my arms!  She was probably 5 minutes after the birth, and was able to quickly assess Kayla and rated her Apgar at 10!  Woohoo!  (Can I just say how awesome it is to have a mom, who not only gave birth three times herself, but is an ARNP and former L&D nurse- who has caught & cared for babies herself!)  Steve said Mel said to lay down, which was perfect to me, because I wanted to.  Mom and Steve laid down towels and sheets and helped me walk to the couch.  Mom checked to make sure I wasn't hemorraghing or anything (nope, not too much blood loss) and that I was comfortable.  Paul got there a few minutes after her and she met him at the door, telling him to come in and meet his new granddaughter.  

While we were waiting for the midwives to arrive, I got Kayla latched on and she started nursing.  Mom called Katie and Andy to spread the news (and tell Andy to come to our apt, not the birth center).  Steve started cleaning up a bit in the bathroom.  The midwives got there about 25 minutes after the birth and set up right away.  It was lovely seeing them.  Mel is the licensed midwife and Jen is her apprentice.  They also had an assistant midwife, Amanda, come and she had gotten my chart from the office.  Mel & Jen did almost all the clinical stuff, examining me and the baby, checking for the placenta, etc, while Amanda mostly did charting and taking vitals.  I'm not sure what time it was, but it was a bit after they arrived, they helped me deliver the placenta.  My mom got to cut Kayla's cord (she also cut Jason's) and held her while I squatted and got it out.  Man, I felt SO MUCH better!  During the exam they saw that I tore again, ended up being another 2nd degree tear that required a few stitches.  ::sigh::  But what can you expect when you push a baby out in 2 minutes?!  I just kept saying to everyone, "It feels so good to not be pregnant anymore!  I'm so glad I'm not pregnant or in labor anymore!"  Hahaha.  We went over the delivery, how it all happened, etc.  They took care of the repair, which sucked (one thing the epidural is really really handy for), but wasn't completely awful.  Stitches just suck, right?  

After that, we got settled in my comfy chair, and I nursed her again.  Oy, the afterpains are awful.  We did the newborn exam and found out she was 8lbs 2oz and 19.5 inches long.  That's over a half pound heavier than the other two, and the same length as Jilly!  She is chubbier than the others were as well.  I lost track of time here, but it was just a nice, social time.  My parents and brother were there, the midwives, and Steve, me, and the baby.  Our two big kids slept through everything!  Seriously, they did not make a peep!!  Everyone got a chance to hold her and snuggle her, the bathroom got cleaned, and we just chatted and caught our breath while all the paperwork and exams were done.  Andy tried to run out and get my prescription for me, but the 24 hr pharmacy didn't take my insurance.  Drat!  Eventually, my parents had to leave to go get ready for work (after a very abbreviated night of sleep!) and my brother went back to their house very shortly after, so he could sleep too (remember, he hadn't gotten any sleep yet).  We had a nice chuckle when my cell phone started ringing.  It was my alarm, telling me to get up so I could get ready to go meet them at the birth center.  The midwives finished everything they needed to do, paperwork, exams, monitoring, etc.  We were both doing just fine, Kayla was settling down for a long nap, and I was getting tired too.  So they packed up and went home, needing to take care of their own families.  Right about this time (around 6:30am or so), the sleeping pill Steve had taken hours earlier kicked in hard.  In all the excitement, the adrenaline had kept him going, but now that everything was calming down, he was crashing.  Off he went to bed as well, and it was just me and my baby in the living room, enjoying the very quiet and still morning.  

I couldn't help myself, I took advantage of the quiet time (knowing I wouldn't really be able to sleep that well) and started uploading pictures onto Facebook and the blog, and texting lots of people to let them know about her arrival.  That's how the next couple hours went.  I had my laptop and my baby, I dozed in and out a little, and played on the internet.  It was already starting to seem surreal and very dream-like.  It definitely feels like that now!  One thing the midwife, Mel, said to me before she left was "Do you know the term precipitous birth?"  " means a really fast labor and birth." "Right.  It's defined as 3 hours from first contraction to birth.  You've now had TWO of those."  Oh.  Wow.  I hadn't thought about that quite yet.  Really and truly, I am glad we ended up having Kayla at our house.  The idea of getting into the car was the scariest part to me.  I didn't want to be in the car, feeling like I was.  Once I realized I was going to have her right there, without anyone but Steve present, I wasn't scared at all.  I just knew what needed to be done and I had complete faith she and I would be just fine.  If we had left any earlier, then that all would have hit while I was in the car, which would have been infinitely more scary for all of us.  The night before, when I went to bed, I had a great feeling of peace about having the baby the next morning.  I believe Heavenly Father knew what was about to happen and was giving me the assurance that I was going to be just fine.  Steve had given me a blessing the week before, and in it, told me, we would both be healthy and I would be able to remember all of my studies and my body would be able to handle it.  How true that was.  

Now the fun stuff!  Here are all the pictures from throughout the day:

Kayla & Mama that morning, about 3 hours old.

My beautiful Ducky.

The kiddos checking her out.  They met her that morning when they got up for the day.  This was right before they went over to a friend's house to play for the afternoon.

Wrapped up in her Duck blanket.  

This may be my favorite picture.  They were so excited to hold the baby all by themselves and Jason just wanted to love on her so much.  

Then of course, he realized his picture was being taken and started hamming it up.

Such a grown up and proud big sister.  (Haha- I love Kayla's look in this one.  Yup, definitely Steve's kid. ;-))

I cannot believe he's a big brother!  He is so happy and in love with her.  

All three of my beautiful children together.  

Proud Granny!  

You can't help but snuggle and nuzzle this sweet, content, super soft little baby girl.

Look close at her head.  See all that hair!!  After two very bald babies, I was so excited to see all the hair on this one.  I guess that's the last thing to grow (for my kids) and when you're 8 days past your due date, you have time to devote energy to growing hair.  ;-)  It is darker than the picture shows too.

We cannot express enough thanks to all of those who have been so wonderful to us.  Our family for sacrificing time and sleep to come be with us.  Midwives who were so reassuring, attentive and kind, and gave us exemplary care.  Friends who brought us food, took the kids for a playdate, offered kind thoughts and congratulations throughout the day.  Even strangers who offered their congratulations through other friends.  We are truly a very blessed family!

Monday, June 20, 2011

She's here!

Baby Ducky arrived this morning, at home, surprise unassisted birth!  I'll post the full story later.

Kayla Elisabeth.  June 20th, 2011, 3:24am.  8lbs 2oz, 19/5 inches long.  Breathtakingly beautiful.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Just thought I'd let you know...

...this is what I still look like.  This was taken Monday, but nothing has changed, except maybe the belly has gotten bigger.  So here we are, 40 weeks and 4 days pregnant, the longest I have ever been pregnant.    We're still waiting on the little Duck to decide to come out.  I'm 5cm dilated, baby is super low and engaged, but also has her feet up in my ribs all the time.  Because of how dilated I am, the midwives and I have come up with a plan; none of us feel that comfortable with me walking around much more dilated than I currently am without being in labor.  We're already expecting this labor to be pretty quick once it starts.  So next week we've got some plans to help her come out.  

Hopefully in a few days, this image will be a memory, something in the past, not representative of the present.  ;-)

But in the meantime, enjoy this sweet picture of our handsome Goo, asleep on the couch after church this last Sunday.  He didn't get a nap and passed out while the kids were watching Beauty & The Beast.  I heart him.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

What We've Been Up To

Well, I actually made it to maternity leave, still pregnant.  I am 39 weeks and 2 days pregnant, and as the ticker over there ---> says, Ducky is "launch ready".  Yet, the little lady is still hanging out. Honestly, I didn't expect to still be pregnant at this point.  I thought she would be born at the end of May or maybe the first couple days of June.  But the second week of June, or later?  Did not occur to me in any sort of realistic way.  I keep surprising people, at work, at church, Jilly's bus drivers, when I show up with my big belly.  I have heard "You're STILL pregnant?!  When is that baby going to come out?!" at least 673 times in the past week.  I usually respond with "I wish I knew!"  or "Any time now!"  Last Saturday was my last day of work until August, and it is such a relief to be done!  It was getting busier and I cared less and less each day because I knew I'd be out of there soon.  I also had that extra little bit of stress in the back of my mind "Can I go into labor tonight?  I really don't want to go to work tomorrow.  But wait, will I be able to text/call my boss in time for him to call someone else in?"  Now I'm off the hook.  They aren't planning on me being there anyway.  Phew!

Surprisingly, I'm emotionally okay with still being pregnant.  I thought I would be a wreck and frustrated and grumpy with everyone, but overall, I'm okay with it.  This baby will come when she is ready, and from what my midwives told me, it shouldn't be too long.  I was 3 cm dilated at 37 weeks and now at 39, I'm 4-5 cm dilated.  When labor finally kicks in, no one's anticipating it taking too long.  But then again, you can never be sure.  As many people told me in the beginning- the third kid is the wild card!  I think the most frustrating part of this, other than physically, is other people's expectations and the implied pressure from them.  Everyone is very good-natured about it and it all comes from a place of good intentions, but I still feel it anyway.  But overall, especially now that I'm not at work, it's okay and I'm fine with taking some time.

So other that awaiting Ducky's imminent arrival, here is what we are up to:

Jason is turning TWO in just a couple weeks!!  He is soooooooo just about two years old.  He is constantly busy and talking and playing and messing with stuff and running around like a crazy person.  He is a pretty darn happy boy most of the time, but when he is upset, especially angry- watch out!  He tends to throw things and lash out and scream at you when he's mad.  He's had a cold for over a week now, it's mostly manifested in his eyes, which copious amounts of eye gunk, but after two horrible nights of sleep, I took him to the doctor yesterday, just to make sure he didn't have an ear infection or anything worse.  He checked out fine, just a virus that is causing the eye gunk, combined with getting his two year molars, resulting in pain and discomfort for the Goo, and long nights for all of us.  But while we were at the doctor, he was nuts.  Spent most of the time howling and moaning, trying to run out the front door while I chased him down, throwing anything I handed him onto the floor/my foot, when I did hold him he'd try to hit me or pull out my earrings, and so on.  I worked up a sweat in the waiting room alone!  His behavior (the crankiness mostly) was a little extreme because he was so tired, but that experience is a good indicator of just how active he is!  His verbal skills are really coming along amazingly!  He asks for things in sentences often "I need help!" and multiple words a lot "Juice, drink, Daddy!  Juice, drink!".  He has really bonded with Granny & Grampa lately and LOVES going to their house to see them.  He's really developed a penchant for talking on the phone and tries to wrestle it out of my hand every time he sees me on it.  ;-)   He has shown some interest in the potty lately, so we're thinking later this summer, after the baby is born and his birthday, we'll give him a shot at potty training.  If it works, then sweet!  If it doesn't then, no big deal.

Jilly is just about to finish preschool for the year and has made amazing progress.  Even things she wasn't doing at her IEP meeting a few months ago, she is doing now.  Her imagination is exploding!  She loves playing with her finger puppets from Granny and sits and narrates stories with them, complete with voices and dialogue, for hours.  Her latest obsession is with mermaids.  Everyone cool is a mermaid and all her favorite characters are mermaids.  She loves Ariel (from The Little Mermaid) and Mariana (from Dora the Explorer) and asks me to draw her a 'mermaid picture' on her MagnaDoodle many times a day. She also loves her Granny & Grampa and has gotten to have a few sleepovers at their house lately.  Last weekend when she was there, she spent 45 minutes helping Granny water the flowers and work in the garden!  Potty training has mostly been a success.  She's had very few accidents in the grand scheme of things.  For awhile, she was doing really awesome and would go all by herself (go into the bathroom, use the potty, wipe, flush and wash without any assistance or supervision).  Then a couple weeks ago, she regressed a bit.  She will sometimes come out of the bathroom, pants around ankles, and start wandering around and need a lot of coaching to go back in a finish the process, step by step.  It's frustrating for us, but it's still better than dealing with changing a pull-up.  And sometimes she's just fine, so it's kind of odd.  But oh well.  I'm hoping this summer we'll get her swimming on her own and really be able to enjoy the pool at our apartment.  I wanted to do swimming lessons, but now I'm less sure I want to rigidity of the class schedule and spending the money on it.  We'll see.

Steve is finishing the 3rd of eight quarters in his MBA program.  After next week, he'll have a couple weeks off before starting summer quarter.  That will be nice, since it will coincide with Jilly getting out of school and the baby's arrival.  School is going well for him and he's enjoying it.  Still working on finding a job.  He's started creating a website to promote himself and hopefully help with the job-finding.  As soon as it's finished, we'll share it and maybe one of you can pass it along and get him hired!  Until then, he's a super awesome husband and father and does almost everything around the house.  I know that on those days when I am physically in pain or just have no energy, I can depend on him to take care of the kids and let me rest.  He is so loving and talks to Ducky all the time, telling her all the awesome things about the outside world and how much we all love her and how much he can't wait to snuggle and hold her.  It's really really awesome.

I had been working full-time for most of May and some of April.  It was exhausting, but worth it to get as many hours in as possible before maternity leave.  My new manager started at the beginning of April (we've been without one since middle of November) and I've been helping get him up to speed, filling him in on all the little things I do that need to be maintained while I'm gone, and training both new agents and other agents to fill in for me.  It's been quite the process getting used to a new management style, but it has gone well and he's been very understanding with me and how uncertain my situation is.  On my days off, my mom and I would get together and we sewed the quilt tops for both Jason & Ducky's quilts!  Next on the list is to re-make Jilly's (fixing the squares that got burned last year and adding a new border).  Once her top is finished, we'll tie all three quilts and all my babies will have beautiful, soft and cozy quilts to snuggle with.  They are all SO CUTE!!  I will get pictures up when they're finished, I promise!  We have all the supplies to finish them, it's just a matter of figuring out exactly what to do with Jilly's, then assembling.  I've been working on other little projects to get ready for Ducky.  We re-arranged our room a bit to make room for a new storage/shelving unit where all of her stuff is going to be.  She's pretty much going to be in our room completely, clothes, diapers, shoes, cradle, etc.  Even her dresses are hanging up in my closet.  There is just no room in the kids' room for her, plus since she'll be co-sleeping, either in our bed or in the cradle right next to me, it makes sense to have her stuff nearby.  I have gone to a couple Physical Therapy appts as well, to deal with the awful hip pain I've been having during this pregnancy.  The therapist helped me by doing some stretches to balance out my pelvis again and showed me some exercises and other suggestions to help me with the pain.  They have helped and now that the baby has moved farther down into the pelvis, the pain has gotten somewhat better.  There still are issues, but it's not as bad and hopefully will resolve once she comes out!

So for now, we're just waiting for Ducky to come out.  The kids are both very excited to meet her; they love kissing my belly and said Hi to her.  We'll all ready to relax and thoroughly enjoy this summer as a family of 5, especially before I go back to work.  I can't believe we're going to have three kids, but it is going to happen soon and we really are quite thrilled about it.  Hopefully, the next post up here will be about Ducky's birth and will have cute pictures of her.  Feel free to guess away on when that blessed date may be, as well as her length & weight.  Anyone want to guess her hair color?  Remember, even though both our babies had dark hair when they were born, Steve had red hair as a baby, so that may happen here too.  ;-)